This weekend’s first installment of the Junior State Championships at Coffs Harbour will kick-off a big couple of weeks for the Tamworth Taipans.
The local junior oztag association will field 12 teams at the championships, which due to growing interest have been split over two weekends. The 12-17-years teams will compete at Coffs this weekend with the 9-11-years teams playing in Sydney on February 22-24.
As well as being split across two weekends, organisers have also split the competition into two divisions. A positive move, Tamworth Junior Oztag coordinator Katrina Davis believes it will allow the newer and smaller associations to find their feet in rep oztag without getting trounced.
Three of the Tamworth teams will play in the top division in their respective age.
The rest will be in Division 2 and are eyeing off some silverware.
“A lot of those teams have got the potential to win in that division,” Davis said.
“The 17s boys and girls are both playing in Division 1 because they have in the past done very well. They’ll have some tough games but still be very competitive.”
The girls side features an Australian rep with Jada Taylor last week named in the Tagaroos girls 16s side. The multi-talented sportswoman has moved down to Sydney after receiving a rugby union scholarship to Wenona but will link up with the Taipans for the weekend.
Brother Trent was also named in the boys 18s Australian side.
The sides put the final touches on their preparations on Sunday.
Davis said training had been a bit haphazard in recent weeks with the school holidays. Fortunately they got a got a good block of training in before that, starting training back in October
Games start on Friday morning with finals to be played on Sunday.
There will be selection opportunities from the tournament with the Country teams to be named following.